Dow Jones closes at record high

US stocks have ended the trading day higher as investors largely overlooked weak economic growth numbers in the first quarter.

US stocks have ended the trading day higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at a record high for the first time this year as investors largely overlooked weak economic growth numbers in the first quarter.

At the closing bell, the Dow added 45.47 points, or 0.27%, to 16,580.84. At that level it surpassed the previous closing peak of 16,576.66, which was set on December 31 last year. However, the index failed to surpass the intraday record of 16,631.63, set on April 4.

Elsewhere, the broad-based S&P 500 lifted 5.62 points, or 0.30%, to 1,883.95, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 11.01 points, or 0.27%, to 4,114.56.

Equities dipped early in the session as investors weighed a disappointing first official read on economic growth in the US for the first quarter. The Commerce Department recorded growth for the economy of just 0.1%, far below forecasts for a 1% jump.

Offsetting this news was a strong private sector jobs report that pointed to an improving labour market. Also aiding sentiment was continued signs of M&A activity awakening sharply from a five-year slumber and the release of inflation data in the eurozone that helped allay fears of deflation for now.

Driving the afternoon action was the release of the latest statement on monetary policy from the US Federal Reserve, with the central bank again reducing the size of its monthly bond-buying program by $US10 billion.

The slight pick up in stock values on the news was largely due to comments from the Fed that growth had "picked up" over the past month across the country and that interest rate rises were not imminent.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq underperformed for much of the session as microblogging site Twitter slumped to its lowest level since listing in December. It is now around half of its record high, which was set on December 26.

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